The Women's Movement
- Since the 1979 revolution, women have struggled to regain lost rights and win a larger role in society, despite a regime unfriendly to women’s issues.
- The theocracy’s suspension of the Family Protection Law enacted under the monarchy once again put women at the mercy of men in the family.
- Women fared modestly in politics. They won positions in parliament, city councils, cabinet and other decision-making jobs, but in small numbers.
- But women made significant gains in education, particularly after obstacles to certain specialized fields were removed.
- After initially pushing for rapid population growth, the government launched a highly successful family planning program. Iran’s birth rate went from one of the highest to one of the lowest in the region.
- In 2009 elections, 42 women registered to run for the presidency. All were disqualified by the Guardian Council. But for the first time, the council also indicated that women were not banned from running for the top political job.
- Because of growing pressure from both reformers and conservatives, women’s rights became one of the four top issues in the 2009 presidential election. All four candidates developed positions on women’s issues.
- In 2010, 65 percent of all university students were female.
- Since 1979, women have persistently emerged as one of the most dynamic political forces in the Islamic Republic. Despite many obstacles, they have won considerable freedom in education, employment, the public sphere and personal dress—all of which will be difficult to completely roll back.
- The struggle for women’s rights is central to the larger struggle for individual rights. It has become one of the four top issues in national elections.
- Women’s issues are important to both the modern and traditional sectors of society. So the pressure for expanded rights will continue, no matter who is in power.
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